ArtLink Clarksville is a one-of-a-kind, non-profit, art studio located right in the heart of downtown Clarksville, TN. Since 2012, ArtLink has been empowering people, igniting passion, and building character through creativity and various art programs.

ArtLink was founded in 2012 by Maria Haycraft who, if you’ve ever met her, is not exactly what you’d expect from your average artist. While modern films portray artists as dry, philosophic, turtle-neck-wearing stiffs, Maria is fun, energetic, and very welcoming to everyone she’s around. Not only that, but Maria is extremely talented when it comes to her own personal style of art. She loves what she does, and it shines through with how she interacts with her students, teachers, friends, and everyone involved with ArtLink.

20200430_141020.jpg

20200430_140936[1].jpg

Art is something most children grow up with at a young age. Whether it’s coloring with crayons and paint, secretly painting murals on the side of your dresser, or string macaroni into a necklace, art is a normal part of life for most children. But as children grow into adults, the arts are slowly replaced with science, math, geography, and life in general. Art tends to be looked at as childish busywork and not so much as a necessary outlet for many adults.

ArtLink’s Executive Director and Founder, Maria Haycraft, wants to change that.

About Maria

20200430_141546.jpg

Born in San Fernando, CA, and raised in Niagara Falls, NY, Maria has always had an interest in the arts. Not just visual arts either, but music as well. Maria started her art path through music in high school, where she admittedly took classes because she saw them as an easy out compared to the advanced math and science classes she “mistakenly” volunteered for. Once she dove into music head first, she realized that this was her calling all along.

After finishing out school and her music, life eventually brought her to Gainesville, FL where she was initially introduced to the art of stenciling by some of her friends. There was a legal graffiti wall that her friends would work on together so they asked her if she would like to go out stenciling with them. At the time, Maria had no idea what stenciling even was! But after that night, she was hooked–for life.

Life eventually brought Maria back to Niagara Falls, but this time, the art of stenciling came with her. She and some friends started “Sacer Clothing” and went on to sell custom artwork and clothing as a partnership. In 2012, Maria moved to Clarksville, TN, brought Sacer, and noticed the huge art void that Clarksville had. Not even a legal graffiti wall, anywhere!

Maria started ArtLink as a way to provide a creative outlet for those who want to explore and find new ways to channel their energy. Having been “saved” by art in her own life, Maria, and others who volunteer at the studio, see art as a way to express and develop confidence in one’s self.

At ArtLink, art is more than just fun and games, it’s an expression of one’s self, a therapy, and a unique way to bond with others in the community. Maria wants to bring all the joys that art brings to children and adults alike in Clarksville.

Classes & Projects

ArtLink offers a number of different types of creative arts, services, and events for all ages, such as:

20200430_141012.jpg

DIY ART KITS

Art Kits are purchased on ArtLink’s website, or in their store, and consist of all the art supplied needed to create the craft of the month. Students are led through the entire process by Maria, or another volunteer, virtually or from within the classroom. Even though the process is the same for everyone, students are encouraged to express themselves through their own color choices and patterns. The classes are fun, sometimes messy, and students walk away with a unique project and a higher sense of confidence in themselves.

ANNUAL CHALK WALK

One of the largest events put on by ArtLink, the annual “Chalk Walk,” is a world-wide favorite! Chalk artists from Clarksville, and all over the world come together to decorate sidewalk squares. These squares, which cover over 600 square feet, consist of various different styles, including 3D, and are mapped throughout downtown Clarksville for the local community to enjoy.

OTHER CLASSES

20200430_140956.jpg

ArtLink offers so much to students, and a lot of it for FREE. As a non-profit, ArtLink is supported by donations, sponsors, and the revenue generated from their events. Other things ArtLink is known for include:

  • “Turn it Up Tuesdays” Music Lessons

  • Macrame, Painting

  • Donated Goodie Bags

  • Kidz Zone Logo Contests

Or, if you’d like, you can simply come in and start slapping paint, drawing, coloring, and hanging out with others who love art! ArtLink provides a safe and fun environment to express yourself through art.

Go Visit!

ArtLink is currently located at 117B Strawberry Alley BUT will be moving across the street into a much larger studio very soon! You can learn more about ArtLink, Maria, the classes, and other volunteers at their website: https://artlinkclarksville.com/

Author: Wes Foster @realwesfoster

Share